I’ve been thinking about feng shui these last few weeks. Chances are that you’ve heard of it, or discussed it at some point. I’ve never offered a consulting service based on feng shui alone but I do find myself referring to it and I enjoy the common sense of the feng shui laws. When I do study it I find the philosophies to be familiar and they resonate with some of my core theories of interior design for the home.
So, what is feng shui? Can it help when working on the redesign of your home? Need more information? Let’s see if it’s something you’d consider.
The ideograms translate as “wind, water”.
This is a dictionary definition of feng shui;
“an ancient Chinese belief that the way your house is built or the way that you arrange objects affects your success, health, and happiness. ”
I must admit, I’m a fair weather feng shui-er. I’ve never set white sage leaves alight and waved them through my house… or anyone’s house for that matter. I don’t hang tiny mirrors above doors, or have crystals in certain corners of my kitchen. Not that I don’t believe in doing those things, I just don’t do them.
What I certainly do believe in, is qi (chi). Qi means energy. The fundamental values of feng shui are based on the belief that there is such a thing as energy, and that it moves and travels through our surroundings and through us. Acupuncture and Qi Gong share this philosophy.
Acupuncture is a Chinese medical practice of arranging thin needles just under the surface of the skin at significant places in the body. Often used for pain relief and to treat illnesses, it is thought that the needles placed around pressure points can correct and redirect energy, or Qi.
Qi Gong is a Chinese exercise system. Qi, meaning energy, and Gong, meaning skill, translates into the skill of being able to manipulate and improve your energy flow through exercise.
I like to think of feng shui as the art of improving the energy flow, and therefore, overall well-being of your home.
I doubt I’d ever go to the extent of calculating which corner of my living room is the “knowledge corner”, or the “fame corner”, at least not for myself. And I wouldn’t follow the rules of what should go where for the benefits of following feng shui law devoutly.
As with all advice, we should consider the source also. There has been literature on feng shui discovered to date back thousands of years. These scriptures did not warn that the gap between our kitchen cupboards and our ceiling could harbour dead energy, which could “drag you down in your life” (as one relatively newly published book I came across suggested).
Once it stops being practical I struggle to see the benefit, and after all what we’re striving for is to make our homes more enjoyable.
Let’s see if there are any easy to introduce principles of feng shui.
What I can relate to in Feng Shui is the elimination of the negative and the introduction on positive energy. Personally, I believe this can be achieved using the following –
1. Light- improve the natural light in a room and allow it to travel with carefully placed mirrors and reflective surfaces. Allow the light to flow into the room uninterrupted and interact with textures, both hard and soft.
2. Colour- I use colour to create a mood and ultimately, a state of mind. Colour is very personal and can be a useful tool when you want to create change in your home. I have to say I am a fan of neutrals. Easy to live with, soothing and serene neutral tones, in my opinion, help to balance and create harmony.
3. Air – Air/physical space is a luxury. As clean as possible and lots of it… Allow the energy to flow around a home by not obstructing it with clutter. As regards the air we breathe, having open windows and literally fresh air around us is so vital to our well-being.
4. Life – Plants, water and even pets. Plants bring life and give life. Honour the power of plants by purchasing a few to dot around your house.
For interior design purposes, they can fill gaps, blur boundaries and add vibrancy and colour. It also helps to “dress” or “stage” a room. Flick through a few home decor magazines and see if you can find a picture without a fresh arrangement of flowers or a well-pruned house plant. As with plants, water is life giving. In feng shui, water is the element of wealth and the colour is blue, a deep-dark navy, or black. A water feature is said to give off negative ions. Negatively charged ions are most prevalent in natural places and particularly around moving water or after a thunderstorm. The air and the feeling you get at the beach, near a waterfall or after a storm is your body being saturated in the benefits of negative ions. Life and movement in a home is important for the circulation and interaction of energy.
To summarise, I believe if you’re interested in incorporating aspects of feng shui you should look into it and find out what it is that appeals to you.
After all, feng shui is about harmony and balance. Intuition can be powerful and if you think your home could benefit from altering the energy… qi… or whatever you want to call it, then chances are you are right, and it probably could.
Have fun, experiment, be creative.